1Co 10:31-33 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
In order to properly understand these scriptures, we must first recognize that there are things that cannot be done to the glory of God. It is impossible to sin to the glory of God. We cannot by willful disobedience glorify God, nor will we ever glorify God by being a stumbling block to any of our brothers or sisters.
Paul has carefully counseled us as to the things we are able to do; the many things that are lawful for us to engage in. We have also been cautioned that these things, while lawful, may not be expedient. With these principles in mind, we are told to eat, drink, and do whatever else we do in a manner that glorifies God.
We may not always be able to keep people from taking offense at some things we do or say. The practice of our faith may cause an unbeliever to be offended. Praying over a meal in public might cause some to be offended. Declaring, in love, that we believe in one Triune God who is ruler over all things might cause some to be offended.
Notice that these are not things in which we have given offense, because in these things we honor God. We cannot prevent others from taking offense at our gospel. However, this is not to say that we cannot use the word of God to give offense. If we deliberately, for no good cause other than to discomfit another, take up the word of God then we are not honoring God.
Paul told the Galatian brethren to take every opportunity to good to all men, and especially the household of faith (Gal 6:10). He is offering that same admonishment here when he says to not give offense “neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” The whole world is made up of Jews and Gentiles (all men) and among them is a remnant which makes up the church of God (household of faith).
Paul’s sense of pleasing all men is not to be taken as engaging in whatever practice our companions are engaged in. Paul was very careful to not give offense to any when a defense of the truth was not necessary. He exemplified this in his instruction to be considerate of another’s conscience when sitting down to share a meal (1Co 20:27). We do not have to inquire if it was offered to an idol if nothing is mentioned about idols, because we know that the idol is nothing and therefore meat offered to an idol is nothing.
On the other hand, if someone has made it a point to call our attention to the fact that we are being served something offered to an idol, we must be careful to handle that situation to the glory of God. We must not be ensnared either by those who are looking to make light of our faith. Neither should we ensnare a brother whose faith is not strong enough to allow him to understand that the idol and the meat are nothing.
If we would do all things to the glory of God, then we must consider others before ourselves. Our hearts should be attuned to seeing others spared (saved) from offense rather than fulfilling our own desires. Jesus is again our great example; coming to do the Father’s will and seeking our good above His own. He always set forth the truth without giving offense but never shied away from the truth because He thought someone was going to take offense.
May God give us the grace and courage to do all that we do to His glory, seeking the good of our brethren before our own!